SAC Sound-Off: Glad to be an AD's Son

October 30, 2012

By Coby Ryan
Manistique junior

“Oh, you’re Rob Ryan’s son, right?”

As a student-athlete, I hear that all the time. The Upper Peninsula is a tightly-knit network in the sports world. Names, faces, and schools are heavily interconnected. And as the son of Manistique’s athletic director Rob Ryan, everything in that perspective is multiplied.

There are certainly perks to being my father’s son. At every away game I attend, I am greeted by some coach, athletic director, or other school official who already knows my name before the game even starts. Also, we have unlimited access to the gym. It is hard to stay connected to statewide sports living where I do, but having my dad as an AD helps. We always attend the MHSAA Boys Basketball Finals in East Lansing through him, and we love it. Finally, he introduced me to the MHSAA Student Advisory Council, and I am extremely thankful for that. He has more sports-related access than most people, and I benefit from that.

There also are some traits of being an AD’s son that people probably do not see if they do not have a similar relationship. I definitely am held to a higher standard, both academically and athletically, because of my father’s position in the school. This pushes me to be the best student-athlete I can be, and for that I am grateful.

But, there can also be a feeling of being overshadowed by what he does. I am my own person; I am not my father. Many times, I am identified by his achievements, not mine. If I play a good game, I’m “Rob Ryan’s son,” not “Coby Ryan.” Identity problems can be an issue as an athletic director’s child, but this motivates me more to want to be called by my own name because of who I am and what I’ve accomplished.

When I am attending or involved in an athletic competition, my peers and I do not have the same experience. They all see the players playing, a couple guys reffing, and some other people doing statistics or something; they don’t really care about the details. They are just there to watch the game.

When I go, I see things in an entirely different light. I see a team that arrived on the field or court without a hitch because my dad was there to greet them, show them where everything was, and make sure they were all settled in. I see an unbiased, professional officiating crew contracted by my father from a different community. I see scorekeepers, announcers, timers, and statisticians, all hired by him because of their knowledge of the game being played and their ability to perform the task given to them. When there are unruly fans, coaches, or players, I see people that my dad has to deal with by getting them out of the game so enjoyment is not taken away from the rest. In the student section, I am much more aware of sportsmanship and what is appropriate or inappropriate for a high school game than my peers because of him. Being his son puts a whole new perspective on how I view the game.

Through my dad, I can be much more involved in my community’s sports, even if I am not playing all of them. He taught me how to keep stats for basketball games. He had me announce JV football games. I have been a referee with him in local basketball tournaments. Also, we coached a girls basketball travel team together. These opportunities all arose from his being an athletic director.

Overall, I love being my dad’s kid. We both love high school sports and get to enjoy them in more ways than most fathers and sons ever will. I believe there are some negatives to it, but I find that in the end these actually just make me a better student-athlete and a better person. I guess I am pretty lucky to be “Rob Ryan’s son.”

Coby Ryan, Manistique junior

  • Sports: Football, basketball, track and field
  • Non-sports activities: Class President, Quiz Bowl, Drama Club, Glee Club, National Honor Society, Spanish Club, YETI, Academic Booster Club Class Representative
  • Favorite class: Gym
  • Up next: Ryan hopes to attend the University of Michigan. 
  • Shining moment: Scoring 22 points and beating our rival Big Bay de Noc in JV basketball.
  • Pump-up jam: "Winner" by Jamie Foxx (with Justin Timberlake & T.I.)
  • Must-see TV: "The Office"
  • Favorite films: "Step Brothers" and "The Dark Knight"

PHOTO: Manistique junior Coby Ryan stands with parents Christi and Rob during his football team's Parents Night this fall. 

Performance of the Week: Northville's Helena McLellan

June 2, 2023

Helena McLellanHelena McLellan ♦ Northville
Junior ♦ Soccer

McLellan, a standout midfielder, scored twice in Northville's 3-0 win over Belleville on May 22 to clinch the overall Kensington Lakes Activities Association championship. The Mustangs earned the opportunity to play in that game by claiming the KLAA West title with an 11-0-3 record, and they're 15-0-4 heading into Saturday's Division 1 District Final against Livonia Stevenson. 

An accomplished club soccer player, McLellan chose to compete for her high school team this spring for the first time and helped Northville to a No. 2 ranking at the end of the regular season after the Mustangs finished Division 1 runner-up a year ago. Belleville was ranked No. 8 in the final coaches association poll, and McLellan followed up her goals against the Tigers with another in Northville's 3-1 District Semifinal win over Farmington Hills Mercy on Wednesday. 

@mhsaasports ⚽️POW: Helena McLellan #performanceoftheweek #soccer #goals #scored #northville #mustangs #conferencechampions #MHSAA #highschoolsports #tiktalk #interview #TikTok#mistudentaid #fyp ♬ Beat Automotivo Tan Tan Tan Viral - WZ Beat

Follow the MHSAA on TikTok.'s "Performance of the Week" features are powered by MI Student Aid, a part of the Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning located within the Michigan Department of Treasury. MI Student Aid encourages students to pursue postsecondary education by providing access to student financial resources and information. MI Student Aid administers the state’s 529 college savings programs (MET/MESP), as well as scholarship and grant programs that help make college Accessible, Affordable and Attainable for you. Connect with MI Student Aid at and find more information on Facebook and Twitter @mistudentaid.

2022-23 Honorees

May 25: Mitchel Luck, Linden lacrosse - Report
May 18:
Ahava Le Febre, Holland tennis - Report
May 11:
Gracie Maloney, Macomb Dakota softball - Report
May 4:
Braxton Brann, Ann Arbor Huron track & field - Report
April 27:
Owen Patton, Vestaburg track & field - Report
April 20:
Lilly Damm, Millington softball - Report
April 13:
Larissa Huffman, Mackinaw City track & field - Report
April 6:
Darius Acuff, Detroit Cass Tech basketball - Report
March 23:
Regan Finkbeiner, Hemlock basketball - Report
March 16:
Alaina Yaney, Grand Ledge gymnastics - Report
March 9:
Braeden Davis, Dundee wrestling - Report
March 2:
Gabriel Sanchez-Burks, Ann Arbor Pioneer swimming - Report
Feb. 23:
Grace Sobczak, Marquette swimming - Report
Feb. 16:
Kaitlynn Demers, Gibraltar Carlson competitive cheer - Report
Feb. 9:
Indya Davis, West Bloomfield basketball - Report
Feb. 2:
Braydon Sorenson, Onekama skiing - Report
Jan. 26:
Shayna Hruska, Iron Mountain wrestling - Report
Jan. 19:
Kayla Tafanelli, Warren Woods-Tower bowling - Report
Dec. 20:
Brenden Paden, Riverview Gabriel Richard hockey - Report
Dec. 16:
Tuff Scott, Holton bowling - Report
Dec. 9:
Macey Fegan, Standish-Sterling basketball - Report
Dec. 2:
Treyton Siegert, Gladwin football - Report
Nov. 24:
Lily Witte, Dexter diving - Report
Nov. 17:
Navea Gauthier, Shelby volleyball - Report
Nov. 10:
Derek Huisman, Holland Christian soccer - Report
Nov. 3:
Thomas Westphal, New Baltimore Anchor Bay cross country - Report
Oct. 27:
Justin Wickey, Colon football - Report
Oct. 20:
Owen DeMuth, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood tennis - Report
Oct. 13:
Mia Melendez, Ann Arbor Greenhills golf - Report
Oct. 6:
Shawn Foster, Grand Ledge football - Report
Sept. 30:
Hannah Smith, Temperance Bedford swimming - Report
Sept. 22:
Helen Sachs, Holland West Ottawa cross country - Report
Sept. 15:
Nina Horning, Lake Orion volleyball - Report
Sept 8:
Arturo Romero, Muskegon Oakridge soccer - Report
Sept. 1:
Austin King, Midland Dow tennis - Report
Aug. 25:
Olivia Hemmila, Troy Athens golf - Report

PHOTO Northville's Helena McLellan steps into a kick during a May 9 draw with Hartland. (Photo by Chris Mudd/National Photo Scout.)